Understanding the WordPress Configuration Settings – Writing

December 12, 2012

The “Writing Settings” screen relates to the creation of new posts and links, a method to quickly post about something, and which services to update when a new post is made.


The two sub-options here are to make the experience better for visitors and browsers alike. The “Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display” sub-option will turn text-based emoticons into graphic-based ones. The “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically” sub-option will correct broken or invalid XHTML that you may have placed within your posts or pages. Certain plugins may need invalid XHTML to filter your content properly, but you can check this box if you don’t have plugins that filter content, or are certain that it will not hinder any plugins.

Default Post Category

The category chosen here will be what every future post will be first assigned to when being made. You can leave it as “Uncategorized,” but it may be better for you to choose your most often used category, the category you want random posts to go into, or the only category that you use. If you have a website that mostly uses static pages and have only one category (let’s say “blog”) for the occasional post, then choose that category in order to ensure that your posts are always displayed in that category, unless you specify otherwise.

Default Link Category

If you use Links in your blog, then this option will determine which Link Category to place a new link in by default. It is similar in function to the Default Post Category option, but only for links.

Press This

This quick-blogging bookmarklet comes with its own instructions on the Writing Settings screen. Its purposes is to allow you or any other author on your site to quickly and easily grab text, images, and videos from other websites and embed that content within your own posts. You can even add additional content to an existing post using Press This. To see the Javascript behind the bookmarklet, simply right-click on the “Press This” button and the code will appear below the button.

Post via e-mail

In case you ever find yourself in a situation where you want to make a post but cannot access your website or a mobile app, you can use an email address to create a post for you. There are limitations as to what you can post, and they are you can only use plain text with no special characters or HTML.

Mail Server

To allow WordPress to read the emails that you send to it, you need to have access to a POP3-compatible mail server. This field is where you will place the address for that mail server. For example, Gmail’s POP3 server address is pop.gmail.com.


This is the port needed to connect to your mail server’s POP3 application. The port can vary depending on the security settings, and you should contact your email provider for the proper settings.

Login Name

In order to only create posts and not be an avenue to publish all of your emails, WordPress will need its own email account. The email address tied to this account should be kept secret, as spammers could take advantage of this to post links redirecting your visitors to their own websites. WordPress, to help combat this problem, will offer you three random strings to select from when creating an account just for WordPress, but you can use a combination of those strings, or even something completely different if you choose. No matter the address, you will need to enter in the username for the account in the box.


For WordPress to be authenticated by your mail server, it needs to provide a valid password for the account you entered above. Enter the password for the account above into this box.

Default Mail Category

When you make a new post using email, you will be unable to initially set a category for that post. This option allows you to select a custom category that all of these posts will be placed in when created.

Remote Publishing

These two options are to allow or deny access to software that allows you to publish to your website remotely. The WordPress mobile apps and Microsoft Word use the XML-RPC publishing protocol, so you should check the relevant box if you use them now or plan on using them in the future.

Update Services

You can only see the box if you enable search engines to index your site from the Privacy Settings screen. If you can see this box, then you may see several URLs listed within it. These are the URLs of services that your website will try to notify when a new post is created. This is a great way to get the word out that you have new content, and you can edit the list to include more or less updating services. See the Codex page on Update Services for a long list of possible services.

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